GERTRUDIS GÓMEZ DE AVELLANEDA: A 200th Anniversary Celebration

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 @ 7 pm












Our Fall 2014 events calendar opens with a celebration of the great Cuban writer Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda on the 200th anniversary of her birth. The audience will be privy to a unique lecture and visual presentation entitled  “Picturing Cuba: Romantic Ecology in Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab (1841),” by the formidable literary scholar Adriana Méndez Rodenas (University of Iowa), who will explore the role of tropical nature in the author’s renowned anti-slavery novel, as well as highlight the novel’s broader context and the contemporary relevance of Gómez de Avellaneda’s life and work.

Reception to follow.

Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (1814-1873) was a nineteenth-century Cuban writer, born to an aristocratic family in Puerto Príncipe (present-day Camagüey), who wrote poetry, novels, and plays, as well as an autobiography. She achieved notoriety in Madrid during the 1840s and 1850s, becoming a key figure in the Spanish Romantic movement. Her novel Dos mujeres (1842-1843) exposed women’s social conditions under patriarchy, anticipating feminist awareness in a changing world. Her poetry and dramatic works, which were influenced by major French, English, and Spanish authors of her day, reflected her often dramatic life experiences—including relocating from Cuba to Spain, and stormy love affairs with Ignacio de Cepeda and the Sevillean poet Gabriel García Tassura. In an age of strict gender roles, Gómez de Avellaneda dared to step out of traditional roles: she married twice and maintained a fierce independence in a male-dominated society. In 1859, Gómez de Avellaneda returned to Cuba with her husband, Domingo Verdugo, a representative of the Spanish cortes, when she reclaimed her right to be considered a full-fledged Cuban writer. She returned to Spain in 1864, and died in Madrid in 1873. Among her best-known poems is “Al partir” (1836), a sonnet about the poet’s love for Cuba as she is leaving it. Her anti-slavery novel Sab, which predates Uncle Tom’s Cabin by more than a decade,  was banned in Cuba—considered scandalous because of its abolitionist outlook, and its treatment of interracial love and societal conflict—but today is considered a classic of Cuban literature.

Americas Society
680 Park Avenue (corner of 68th Street), NYC

Reserve early at:

Non- Members: $10
Reserve at: Non-Member Registration

This event is co-sponsored by Americas Society
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With the promotional collaboration of

Painting above:
Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, by Federico de Madrazo